OSLO, Norway, Aug. 7 (Ed Adamczyk) — The first youth camp meeting on Utoya Island, Norway, since the 2011 massacre which killed 69 people convenes Friday.
The island, 40 kilometers (24 miles) from Oslo and owned by Norway’s Labor Party, will host over 1,000 students for three days of seminars and activities. The visitors will find newly renovated buildings, new conference rooms and a steel memorial with engraved names of the victims of self-styled “militant nationalist Anders Breivik.
On July 22, 2011, Brevik exploded a bomb in downtown Oslo, killing eight people. He then took a boat to the island and randomly shot at people, mostly students, as he walked. Convicted of mass murder in 2012, he received an extendable 21-year prison sentence. The incident shook a nation not accustomed to random violence on that scale.
“The 22nd of July will forever be part of Utoya’s history. Everything we had to go through. All the tough days. But this day will also always be part of Utoya’s history. The day when Labour Youth’s summer camp again gathered here at Utøya. Utoya is also the site of the darkest day in Norway’s peacetime history. Utoya will always be the place where we will remember those we lost, but reclaiming Utoya for the summer camp is about not letting the dark history overshadow the light, said youth group leader Mani Hussaini in a welcoming speech Friday.
Students arrived Thursday under heavy security, as did NATO Secretary General and former Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, who attended the summer camps regularly in his youth.